A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 141: Report by the Bulgarian Foreign Minister at
the Unofficial Meeting of Foreign Ministers at Niederschönhausen
near Berlin, April 10, 1989

In a fascinating reversal of past practice, the foreign ministers of the Warsaw Pact met—without their Soviet counterpart—to discuss subjects of mutual interest. Meeting at a government castle outside Berlin, the so-called "closed circle" focused on the impli- cations of Gorbachev's reforms, including his unilateral force reductions. Not only did the meeting, described here by Bulgarian Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov, show that they recognized their interests did not always coincide with Moscow's, but it placed the foremost supporters of the Warsaw Pact, the East Germans, uncharacteristically in agreement with the Pact's main detractors, the Romanians. Of course, those two reactionary regimes had a vital stake in preserving the status quo in Eastern Europe. In sharp contrast to previous bloc crises in 1956, 1968 and 1980–81, fears that reform tendencies might spill over to other countries no longer originated with the policies of runaway satellites but with those of the Soviet Union itself.

"…"

We are under pressure, "GDR Foreign Minister Oskar" Fischer pointed out, because we are rejecting the "import" of imperialist views concerning human values. The other side is not content with cosmetic changes only; it wants us to operate on and to amputate socialism as such. This has been expressed unambiguously by "Zbigniew" Brzezinski, "Henry A." Kissinger, and NATO Secretary General "Manfred" Wörner. Following Vienna,22 the other side is undertaking an offensive in Europe to export bourgeois values.

We are required, pointed out the GDR foreign minister, to pull down the "Berlin" Wall, to dismantle socialism. They are stating that they do not want to change the border. Actually, they are aiming at a revision of the state borders in Europe, in violation of Helsinki. They are talking about human rights, but they mean disrupting production relations.

They want more markets and less Marx.23

"…"

Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioan Totu thanked O. Fischer for "the most serious issues" raised by him. At that moment it was difficult to give a direct answer to each question and to draw conclusions. The Romanian delegation, however, highly evaluates Cde. Fischer's statement, which touched the most significant issues. Totu agreed both with the assessments and the principled approach of the GDR delegation leader.

22 CSCE review meeting from November 4, 1986, to January 19, 1989.

23 Pun in German: "Mehr Markt, dazu aber weniger Marx."

-629-

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